- Jon before learning about his heritage
Jonathan Samuel Kent, nicknamed "Jon" by his friends and family, is the son of Superman and Lois Lane and the third character in DC Comics history to bear the name Superboy. Born during the Convergence event, Jon is named after the fathers of both his parents (Jonathan Kent and General Samuel Lane). After the trio escape to the New 52 universe, Jon is raised as a normal boy under the surname White (after Daily Planet Editor-in-Chief Perry White), unaware of his parents' history or their secret activities (Clark carried on as Superman in secret, while Lois became an author known as "Author X"). Eventually, Jon's Kryptonian powers manifest, just in time for the death of the New 52 Superman. This eventually forces Jon's father back into action as Superman, and Jon is taken along for the experience. After Superman Reborn merged the histories of the pre-Flashpoint and New 52 versions of Superman and Lois Lane, his history has been slightly altered — he's never gone by Jonathan White, and was born in the mainstream DCU. Instead of living a sheltered life with his parents, all of Clark and Lois' friends, civilian and superhero, know of his existence.
As part of the DC Rebirth line, Jon features in Superman (Rebirth) regularly along with his parents and in Super Sons alongside Bruce Wayne's son and current Robin, Damian Wayne. He is also central to a crossover between Super Sons, Superman and Teen Titans (Rebirth) titled The Super Sons of Tomorrow.
Tropes associated with Jonathan Samuel Kent
- Action Bomb: Jon's Solar Flare ability, also inherited from his father, turns him into this, releasing massive amounts of solar energy from his cells all at once, dealing catastrophic damage to his surroundings in the process. Unfortunately, Jon's unique genome means that he doesn't control over this ability, giving it the potential to trigger whenever he's pushed to the emotional brink. Worse yet, it has the potential to kill him if he uses it twice in a row.
- Adorkable: He loves his pop-culture references and wants Damian to teach him how to use a sword so he can be "Super-Ninja-Jedi-Boy".
- Adult Fear: Jon's very existence and activity as a superhero is a huge source of this for his parents. To date, Jon has been taken by Intergang, stood just a few meters away from a rampaging Doomsday, nearly had half his genome sucked out by the Eradicator, been abducted and sedated without warning by Damian, attacked by Lex Luthor, attacked later the same night by Kid Amazo and his army of power-copying robots, whisked away by a hyper-dimensional imp, fought a living planet that has crushed universes, was near ground zero of an epidemic that turned the entirety of Metropolis' population into copies of Doomsday, and is targeted by an alternate future version of Batman for assassination. Needless to say, being Superboy is dangerous.
- A God Am I: Discussed in Superman #40. His dad tells him that they're often treated with awe upon visiting an alien world. Jon then asks if he'd be treated like a god, but Superman simply tells him that they'll have lots of questions.
- The All-American Boy: A Middle Example, being a small-town boy who's sweet, polite, and more than a bit naive. However, he does have a cheeky side and he tends to be somewhat rebellious when no one's looking.
- Alternate Self: Similar to Damian Wayne, Jon is but the latest (and canonical) version of Superman and Lois Lane's son. Other versions include:
- Clark Kent Jr. from the Silver Age Super-Sons.
- Jonathan Elliott from Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, the first to be called Jonathan.
- Superman Secundus, Superman's "heir" from DC One Million and the first in a long line of successors, who is heavily implied to be the genetically-engineered future offspring of Superman and Lois in All-Star Superman.
- Jonathan "Jon" Lane Kent, his immediate Alternate Universe Evil Counterpart as the future son of the New 52 Superman and Lois instead of the Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint ones.
- A few Elseworlds titles include a version of him, most prominently Son of Superman by Howard Chaykin, where he's named Jonathan (and nicknamed Jon) too.
- Jason White from Superman Returns, meant to be conceived during Superman II.
- Christopher "Chris" Kent was a Kryptonian boy adopted by Post-Crisis/Pre-Flashpoint Clark and Lois, but he turns out to be Lor-Zod, the biological son of General Zod and Ursa. Never took the name Superboy (as he existed alongside Kon-El), was Put on a Bus and is pretty much Exiled from Continuity nowadays. He reappears in the DC Rebirth continuity as a boy Jon's age. This version of Lor-Zod is a prisoner of the Phantom Zone and a loyal ally to his father General Zod.
- Apologetic Attacker: After accidentally using his Freeze Breath on Maya and Goliath, sending them all plummeting towards the ground.Jon: I'msorry-I'msorry-I'msorry!
- Armor Is Useless: His dad's original costume was woven from Kryptonian fabric that was as durable as he is. Jon wears his jeans and a thrift store jacket with the Superman logo on it. Thanks to his natural invulnerability and forcefield, it holds up just fine. Even when fighting the denizens of Apokolips, the body armor he picks up from the grunts he beat doesn't do much to stop him from getting tossed across the field by a punch from Kalibak.
- Audience Surrogate: Due to being conceived during the events of Convergence, he serves as one for readers who aren't quite caught up with the events of Superman: Lois and Clark as well as the events of the Post-Crisis timeline. He also lampshades the Underwear of Power his father's old suit had.Jon: [holding up a phone with pictures of his dad's old suits] Hey Dad! Why don't you wear one of these? You shoulda stuck with the black suit or gone back to the old one with the undies on the outside.
Clark: It wasn't "underwear", Jon. It was part of the suit, a decorative element, all sewn together as one piece.
Jon: Looks like undies to me.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: In the opening scene of Super Sons, he and Damian are this when faced with a swarm of their robotic counterparts.
- Badass Adorable: Being the (physically) youngest incarnation of the titleholder, this shouldn't come as a surprise. Even when his powers were just developing, he had no problems beating an armed man into unconsciousness with a loose pipe. He only gets more badass as time goes on thanks to his increasing mastery of his powers, impressing Starfire in Super Sons #7, who inducts him into the Teen Titans after only a night of working with him. At the same time, he's worried about his curfew, tries his best not to cuss, and gushes over the thought of working with the Teen Titans.Starfire: [while pinching a grinning Jon's cheek] And do not forget to bring our newest member along with you. He's adorable and great in a fight!
- Badass Cape: The first mainstream Superboy to wear a cape.
- Bad Liar: Jon is a horrible liar. Case in point, his excuse to the Teen Titans about Damian dragging them there.Jon: "S" What "S"? I'm just a regular kid... that Robin happens to know...
- Bash Brothers: With Damian on their best days.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Averted. Although his father can hold up in space just fine with a pressured respirator for air, Jon gets outfitted with a special transparent suit and a pair of googles that he wears over his regular hero costume in order to protect him from harmful alien atmospheres (and lack there of) in Superman #40. He certainly isn't bothered by the frigid temperatures or heat of reentry associated with space travel though.
- Berserk Button: Taunting him over The death of his beloved cat.
- Big Eater: Less explicit than most examples, but in Superman #7 he's shown eating a burger while slurping soda with his Dad holding an armful of snacks in tow. The snacks are nowhere to be seen a few panels later. He then helps himself to cotton candy and all-you-can-drink milk. Later on, he's seen enjoying several tubs of ice cream, at least two boxes of pizza, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cherries, and numerous liter bottles of soda with his friend Kathy and his first dog Ranger. In Action Comics #966, Jon also expresses a particular fondness for his Dad's deluxe "Blow Your Guts Out" meatballs.Kathy: [adding condiments to her ice cream] Want any cherries?
Jon: Thanks Kathy! All the cherries!
- He's also very excited to see the mini-fridge in the hideout (which he christens the "Fortress of Attitude") his dad and Batman built for him and Damian.Jon: We have a mini-fridge?! Is this heaven, or what?
- In Super Sons Annual #1, Jon eats the veggie kabob meant for Damian out of spite after Damian mocked him while the two stopped a bank robbery in New York City.Damian: Copter's a half mile away. Hand over my veggie kabob and let's get out of here.
Jon: [smugly grinning while holding two empty kabobs] Oops, my bad.
- After finding a particularly good take-out joint in Metropolis, Jon has this to say about the fried noodles:Jon: Damian, I'm never going to get married, but when I do, it's going to be these noodles.
- He's also very excited to see the mini-fridge in the hideout (which he christens the "Fortress of Attitude") his dad and Batman built for him and Damian.
- The Big Guy: He has this relationship with Damian, being noticeably taller despite being several years younger, as this picture shows. He's also much stronger physically and has superpowers to support him, but this is counterbalanced by his lack of proper combat training and general naivety, putting him at odds with Damian.Jon: [after getting insulted by Damian] Aren't you forgetting something? I'm much taller.
- Blow You Away: He discovers his Super-Breath in Superman #10, which he can use to blow things great distances or freeze them solid if he so wishes.
- Book Dumb: Played with. Jon doesn't like being in school and frequently complains about everything from studying to the food. But he isn't a particularly bad student either, being able to mentally solve problems at his grade level in seconds when his teacher calls him out for not paying attention in class, and one of his parent's requirements for letting him be superhero is to keep up his grades. Played more straight in Super Sons #13, since one of his classmates makes fun of him for his grades.
- Brains and Brawn: Has this relationship with Damian Wayne (Robin) as the Brawn to his Brains, being the superpowered newcomer vs Damian's experience and lack of superpowers. Somewhat subverted since Jon isn't dumb, sometimes being more thoughtful and reasonable than his Teen Genius best friend. In addition, his Kryptonian heritage means that he can effectively be a walking supercomputer if he were to ever put his mind to it, as seen when he used his Super-Vision to analyze over 175 hours of camera footage to pick out four specific frames in seconds. He also once unlocked a door by sticking his finger in the lock and using his Super Strength to discreetly force the door to open rather than bust the door down in order to avoid revealing his powers to his maternal grandfather, Sam Lane.
- Breakout Character: His popularity skyrocketed as Superman (Rebirth) went on, maintaining a major role in his father's comic and making regular, important appearances in Action Comics. Then there's his guest appearances in Justice League and his leading role in Super Sons.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Despite being portrayed as the Dumb Muscle of the Super Sons (not helped by the fact that Damian is an Insufferable Genius and a Child Prodigy), Jon is surprisingly intelligent for his age when he puts his mind to it, solving fifth-grade math problems nearly instantly after not listening to the question and tinkering with Kryptonian technology under his father's supervision. He already knows how to drive a tractor and subsequently a truck, which he rams into the guy who was starting to overpower his dad. He also sees through Mr. Mxyzptlk's first riddle after remembering his offhand statement about "bedtime stories". Jon's foolishness comes more out of naivety, inexperience, and immaturity than any stupidity on his part. It also helps that he's around ten-years old and is thus not particularly invested in academia or otherwise using that brain of his to its full potential. As his teacher describes him:Tony Martinez: [To Clark and Lois] You've got a great boy here. Quick thinking, always a few steps ahead, little bit of a daydreamer, but always respectful of me and his classmates. A real pleasure to have in class.
- After transferring to a new private school in Metropolis, Jon gets teased for how poor his grades are. At the same time, he's analyzing alien teleportation algorithms with Damian in the Fortress of Solitude.
- Broken Pedestal: His father's bedtime stories made Mr. Mxyzptlk out to be a pretty swell guy that Jon always called "Ruppletat". However, with the five-dimensional imp seething with hatred and resentment for Superman's inability to rescue him from Mr. Oz, "Ruppletat" is far less jolly and nice in person.Jon: Dad was wrong, you are a bad guy!
- The Black Dawn story arc is shaping up to be one for his dad, as one of Jon's neighbors was seriously injured after Superman refused to kill a giant squid monster that was attacking Hamilton even as the local police officer encouraged the two of them to use their heat vision.
- Brought Down to Normal: In Superman #20, Batman reveals that something is stifling the growth of Jon's powers and may make him powerless in the long run if it isn't stopped. This is stopped once Manchester Black's actions on Jon are stopped.
- Car Fu: He once drove a truck into a guy who began beating his Dad.
- Catchphrase: "Yessir!" along with a little salute whenever he's affirming something to his Dad. This has disappeared over time though, as Jon becomes less dependent on his dad for decision making.
- Character Development: He becomes more confident and assertive as his powers grow and his adventures continue. In the first issues of Super Sons, he's constantly complaining to Damian about how much trouble they're going to be in when they're caught and is somewhat lacking in confidence due to his Power Incontinence. Come Issue #13, he's happy to spook trained assassins for fun and watch their weapons shatter against his skin. Damian's traits have also rubbed off on Jon, making the Superboy more independent and willing to disobey his parents to do what he feels is right. For reference, in Superman: Lois and Clark, he sticks by his mom's word to the letter when his powers were first developing. After surviving Apokolips, he ends up making a pillow dummy to throw off Perry White while secretly tailing his mom on her mission to save his maternal grandfather from execution in a foreign country.
- Characterization Marches On: While he's still the same cheerful kid he started as, his diction, which was extremely childish to the point of using "hafta" instead of "have to" and pronouncing "because" as "cuz" among other things in Superman: Lois and Clark, improved dramatically by the time of Superman (Rebirth), which heavily toned this down. He was also more naughty in these early appearances, using his phone in class instead of paying attention, getting sent to the principal's office multiple times, and being reprimanded for cussing in his parents' presence. This is a farcry from his extremely empathetic and sweet Nice Guy portrayal that was popularized by his appearances in Superman (Rebirth) and his leading role in Super Sons. In addition, while Jon was able to at least hover at the end of Lois and Clark, he's completely unable to do so in the more recent comics until the end of the Black Dawn arc.
- Cheerful Child: Much like any other child raised in a loving household at his age, he is very excitable involving superhero related matters, sports, holidays, and basically anything that isn't school. This trope does get zigzagged depending on the writer, with this trait being more prominent with Tomasi than Jurgens, who writes Jon as being indifferent to adult matters, preferring to stare at a video game screen instead of listening to his father's co-workers.
- Child of Two Worlds: The Half-Human Hybrid son of the so-called "Last Son of Krypton" and one of its most prominent human reporters. Ever since learning about his heritage, he's been drilled in Kryptonian culture in addition to what he's already happy to experience on Earth. By the time of Superman #40, he's memorized the exact date on which Krypton was destroyed and can name drop Rao, the most worshipped god on Krypton, while trying to convince his father to take him on an interstellar adventure.
- Civvie Spandex: Like his Post-Crisis counterpart, Jon doesn't have a super-advanced suit, instead opting for a jacket with the Superman logo and a cape he soldered on with heat vision, otherwise wearing what he normally wears to school, torn jeans and all.
- This compared to Damian's elaborate Robin setup led to a meme that "just by their uniforms, you can tell which one has a rich dad and which one doesn't"
- Clark Kenting: At the end of the first Superman storyline, Jonathan is given glasses like his father. Jon isn't happy that he has to wear them, but Clark tells him that they work surprisingly well. That said, he's possibly an even more egregious example than his father, as he makes no attempt to modify his voice and wears the exact same jeans and sneakers that he does in his daily life. Lampshaded by Beast Boy.Beast Boy: We know who you are. Your secret identity is more obvious than mine... and I'm green!
- Corrupt the Cutie: Any villain who doesn't want him dead wants to turn him evil so they can use him against his father and the rest of the world.
- Darker and Edgier: At a casual glance, Jon's character and circumstances aren't too dissimilar from his father's when he was his age with his parents thinking that they'll have an even easier time raising him than the Kents had due to Clark being around to teach him about his powers. However, while Clark had the odd high-concept adventure in his youth, the world wasn't as lousy with super villains and other threats back when he was a boy so Jon's formative years are much more dangerous with many fiends aiming to either kill him or corrupt him.
- Dead Guy Junior: Is named after his paternal (adoptive in this case) and maternal grandfathers, both of whom died in the Post-Crisis continuity (but Sam Lane is later revealed to be alive in the Rebirth continuity). Lois also initially planned on naming Jon after Clark's biological father, Jor-El, which would also likely be Jon's Kryptonian name. Who is later revealed to be alive.
- Deadpan Snarker: While he's pretty straightforward and nice most of the time, Jon cranks up the snark in a way that would make his mom proud whenever Damian is involved. Case in point, when he and Damian are confronted by dozens of robot duplicates of themselves:Damian: I'll admit, maybe in retrospect we should have called our fathers.
- Distressed Dude: When he isn't the focus of the story, Jon tends to get kidnapped a lot, either for being the son of Lois Lane or the son of Superman, depending on the villains involved. Superman himself is terrified of anything happening to Jon as a result.
- Dream Sequence: Spends the opening pages of Superman #21 dreaming of flying while in his own unique spandex costume based on his current Civvie Spandex.
- Emotional Bruiser: He gets really emotional whenever his parents are in danger and he's prone to crying in such situations. He also freaks out upon seeing a murdered family for the first time. He's also forced to watch his mom's leg get shot off and his dad's efforts to cauterize the wound with heat vision, though this was later revealed to have been an illusion created by Manchester Black to break Jon's idealism.
- Famed in Story: Becomes this by the events of Superman #21, with the residents of Hamilton instantly recognizing him as Superboy and are greatly reassured by his presence. Though this was later revealed to have been part of Manchester Black's plot. He's still an unknown anywhere outside of Metropolis, since a Gothamite thought he was just a normal little boy in a costume while a source Lois was speaking with was unaware that Superman even had a son.
- Farm Boy: Runs in the family. He's also very resistant to the idea of moving to Metropolis, constantly begging his parents to stay in Hamilton and running all the way to Gotham to complain to Damian about it. The latter is, of course, less than sympathetic and just chastises him, leading to their climactic fight in Super Sons #5.
- Flying Brick: Being part-Kryptonian (and the son of the Trope Codifier) naturally makes him this, with all of the associated powers.
- Foil: To Damian Wayne in Super Sons. Jon has superpowers, but can't control them and is generally a pleasant person to be around due to his normal and happy upbringing. Damian is a (comparatively) Weak, but Skilled Badass Normal and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with absolutely atrocious social skills due to his upbringing in the League of Assassins.
- Forced to Watch: Manchester Black made it appear as though Lois' leg was blasted off while Jon was restrained with his eyes forcibly kept open to watch the whole thing. Then in Dark Nights: Metal, he's forced to watch as his mother succumbs to the Doomsday Virus after she locked him in the family safe room to protect him from it.
- Friendship Moment: The Super Sons of Tomorrow arc is one for him and Damian. Damian comes to Jon's defense when the Future Tim Drake comes to kill him. He does everything he can to protect Jon, even fighting his own team, the Teen Titans, to do so. At the end, Superman is uncertain of letting Jon continue his adventures with Damian, since Damian's future supposedly has bad ramifications for Jon, but both boys vow to stick together and protect each other from whatever comes their way.
- Friend to All Living Things: Downplayed. Like most other kids his age, Jon loves animals and regularly cares for the many on his family farm, even offering to take Damian's pets there so they can get some clean air and sunshine. He is also devastated when he accidentally kills Goldie and when Krypto seemingly dies. Then on Apokolips, he exposes himself to a bunch of Apokoliptians to save the dogs that were being slaughtered for their meat. However, it's nowhere near Damian's levels, as he shows visible disgust at the notion of being at a cow-raising contest as he dislikes the smell of their manure.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: His mom dishes this out to him when he's in the middle of rampaging and fighting both his father and Manchester Black while under Black's influence, which freezes Jon in his tracks, as Black had made Jon believe that Lois lost her leg and that Superman had failed to help her.
- Generation Xerox: Jon looks exactly as his father did at his age and is also a generally sweet and respectful boy who always tries to take the moral high ground. He even has a childhood friend who happens to be his Secret Keeper much like his dad's relationship with Lana Lang. That said, he has his natural bursts of childish unruliness, and his moral code doesn't always stop him from intentionally getting on Damian's nerves in their petty arguments.
- In addition, there are numerous allegories to many of his dad's most iconic showings in Jon's own stories, such as standing idly as spitballs are fired at him, much like Superman's general relationship with bullets.
- While normally polite like Clark, Jon has proven more than once he's inherited his Mother's wit when people want to push him.
- Good Feels Good: Thanks to the positive example set by his dad, superhero work is a blast for Jon, since it's when he gets to cut loose and make his parents proud with the gifts he's born with. He's positively beaming when handing a lady her cat after it (presumably) got stuck in a tree or lost and tells off Damian for trying to turn low-level crimefighting into some sort of militaristic training.Superman: And remember... what are we helping people for, buddy?
Jon: [fistbumping his dad] Good people get involved.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: He's only ten, so he's quick to correct himself when a cuss word slips out while under Tomasi's pen. Averted in his earlier portrayals, where his parents reprimanded him for cussing.Damian: Superboy, stay out of the way.
Jon: Like hell I will! [pauses] Nn. My bad. Like heck I will.
- Again in Super Sons Issue #8.Jon: [after being saved from a giant mechanical tentacle] Who the H are they?
Damien: I have no idea. And your parents are a whole dimension away. You can curse here.
- Averted in Superman #36 after getting punched by Kalibak, son of Darkseid, to which he offers an appropriate "Crap!" as he falls to the floor.
- In Super Sons Issue #5, he looks around to make sure no one is around to hear him say that moving sucks.
- Again in Super Sons Issue #8.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Jon is the first naturally-born mainstream Human-Kryptonian hybrid Superboy with the exception of his villainous predecessor from the New 52 continuity. It should also be noted that Jon is the first stable and complete hybrid of his kind, as Jon Lane Kent suffered constant agony from his unique genome, and none of the other Superboys used the standard Kryptonian powers at first, instead mimicking superhuman strength, speed, and flight with telekinesis before getting their Kryptonian powers over time.
- Headbutting Heroes: To put it bluntly, he and Damian do not get along well at all at first, but this evolves into Vitriolic Best Buds down the line.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Whilst they still bicker a lot, he and Damian seem to have become this trope by Adventures of the Super Sons.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Jon loves dogs and is often seen spending time with Krypto and Ranger (his golden retriever who hasn't been seen since the Kents moved to Metropolis). He was also eager to adopt the dogs he befriended on Apokolips, but his mom shoots him down rather quickly.Jon: Mom, don't you think Krypto would like another friend to come live—
Lois: Don't even think about it kiddo.
- Honor Before Reason: Played with. Jon insists on helping out the people of Eoroe since they rescued the boys were rescued from Yggardis' clutches in Issue #8 of Super Sons despite Damian's protests that they should find a way home first and foremost. However, Jon rationalizes this by saying that they needed to help the locals in order to get info that could help them get home, which isn't totally unreasonable. Ironically enough, this is the inverse of the stance Jon took in the first arc of the series, where he continually told Damian that they were in over their heads and should get help rather than confront Kid Amazo themselves.
- Human Mom, Non-Human Dad: Specifically, his father is Kryptonian.
- I Am Who?: It takes Jon a while to come to terms with the fact that he's Half-Kryptonian along with the fact that his ordinary, constantly tired and busy father is Superman, but not the Superman he grew up watching on television.
- An Ice Person: Jon can flash-freeze almost anything with his Super-Breath, generating giant swathes of ice from thin air with ease.
- I Got Bigger: Many glimpses of the future show Jon as tall and well-built as his dad is, with Wonder Woman's future son Hunter making special note of how broad Jon's shoulders were.
- In Adventures of the Super Sons, future version of Jon is shown with some gut.
- In a Single Bound: Got around this way until he developed his ability to fly.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Shares his father's icy blue eyes and remains cheerful as ever amidst things that would traumatize any other child. Depending on the artist, Jon's eyes downright sparkle when he's happy, making this trope especially prominent.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: Jon hates the fact that he has to hide everything about him and wants to tell the world everything. Lois and Clark have to keep him tempered from this sort of idea. He also has to make up excuses during Superman #17, during his little escapade with Kathy. He even does this to an extent with his parents, as he makes it seem as though he was in bed all night due to staying up to watch a horror film and again when Damian took him out to Metropolis. Mr. Oz, AKA Jor-El, uses this trait to get Jon to work with him by preying on Jon's frustrations with mundane life and by using the fact that he coached Jon on the use of the Hellbat suit during the attack on the Fortress of Solitude.Kathy: [After Jon busts a door down] How did you-
Jon: Workout routine with my Dad! Lots of pull ups!
- Kryptonite Factor: His powers are tied to his Kryptonian heritage and thus will short out if he's exposed to Kryptonite or kept away from yellow sunlight for an extended period of time.
- Lamarck Was Right: Jon is inheriting all of his father's powers one by one, but it's taking an awful lot of time for it to happen, which has Batman suspicious...
- Legacy Character: As of Superman Rebirth #6, Jonathan has officially claimed the "Superboy" title and the S-shield worn by his father and his cousin Kara (better known as Supergirl).
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to his immediate predecessors, the New 52's Kon-El and the villainous Jon Lane Kent, Jonathan Samuel Kent has a much happier and more normal upbringing, being raised by his loving parents instead of a terrorist organization or being manufactured in a lab. He also lacks most of the angst, abrasiveness, and Jerkass traits that defined the New 52 era.
- Lightning Bruiser: Is developing into this as time goes on, being strong enough to bench press cars, tough enough to get knocked through buildings without a scratch, and fast enough to reach Metropolis or Gotham City more than twice as quickly as the pod Cyborg developed for him,
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Like his dad, Jon is a kind, upstanding, and empathetic person who constantly tries to see the best in people and wants to use his superpowers to help others. But unlike his dad, Jon has a different set of interests and standards due to growing up in a vastly different time than when his father was a youth. The most blatant example of this is Jon's unwillingness to move to Metropolis. When Clark was a boy, everyone dreamed of moving there. On the other hand, Jon sees Metropolis as one, crowded prison where he won't have any privacy, becoming unusually antsy and irritable when faced with the prospect of moving. As a result, it takes quite a bit of coaxing for Jon to finally relent.Clark: Jon, you'll love Metropolis. There's nothing wrong with change sometimes. When I was your age the Big M was all I ever dreamed about.
Jon: Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Big dreams, big city newspaper, a big world out there... But I'm not you. Please don't make us move. I like it here. All my friends are here.
Lois: Sweetie, you'll make new friends. I promise. You always do.
Clark: We've talked about this. Right now, after everything we've been through, this is what's best for all of us, buddy.
Jon: [tears his shirt to shreds to reveal his Superboy uniform] No, this is what's best for you! Just like not making me use my powers! You think that's going to be easier in a city! You want to keep me in a prison... so I never get to be myself! [leaps off into the distance and runs to Gotham] Moving... sucks! Cities suck!
- Jon can also be rather petty in a way his father isn't when dealing with Damian, always making jabs at his friend's height when they argue. During Super Sons Annual #1, the two get into a minor squabble while stopping a bank robbery. Jon subsequently eats both of the kabobs given to him by a grateful food vendor when one of them was meant for Damian, doing so with a satisfied expression and a clearly sarcastic "Oops, my bad." He also cheekily pushes down on Damian's barbell while the latter was in the middle of bench pressing it.
- Superman was a straight-A student in school, but Jon is thoroughly disinterested in schoolwork, doing poorly enough that he gets teased for his grades even though he's definitely intelligent enough to do better.
- Little Stowaway: When his mom sneaks onto a Air Force transport plane to rescue her father, she expected Jon to stay at home. Instead, Jon followed Damian's example by making a pillow dummy and hid in the trunk of Lois' car before flying into the cargo compartment while staying out of his mom's sight.
- Magnetic Hero: His niceness pays off in making him extremely likable to others. Wonder Woman takes a shine to him immediately despite her previous romance with the New 52 Superman, Sara or at least her robotic duplicate is perfectly willing to stay behind and sacrifice herself for Jon despite only just meeting him due to the immediate kindness he displayed to her. The Teen Titans are also willing to induct him as an official member after just one night of working together. Compare this to the Titans' relationship with Damian, which is tense at best given his abrasiveness even after working with him for months. He's also on very good terms with Simon Baz, whom Jon simply calls "Baz" while giving him a hearty high-five, and Cyborg, due to their shared appreciation for video games to the point of having the same favorite character while hanging out aboard the Watchtower in Justice League #22.
- In Superman #35, Jon saves a bunch of mutant dogs that were going to be slaughtered and eaten by the residents of Apokolips. The dogs are so grateful that they're willing to allow Jon to ride them into battle against Kalibak, who had just totaled both Superman and Lex Luthor.
- Meaningful Name: Jonathan is the name of Clark's father. Samuel is the name of Lois' father.
- Messy Hair: As shown by the picture above, his hair is pretty unruly in his downtime and while on the job, but it's combed more neatly for school-related matters.
- Mundane Utility:
- He uses Super Speed to quickly get home, shower, and dry his hair before slipping under the covers as his parents come back from work to check on him.
- His Super Strength comes in handy when helping someone change their tires.
- His invulnerability also lets him pull off stunts that no other kid would ever be able to do, like boogie-board down Niagra Falls while on vacation.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: He has the build of an active, but average boy his age, leading Damian to say that Jon has "narrow shoulders". Nevertheless, Jon is strong enough to casually toss Damian, who has demonstrated numerous Olympic-level feats at his age, aside with little effort and hold him up by the collar when angered. Later on he's stopping trains with ease and has no problem throwing down with other super-strong villains. Especially noticeable when compared to his predecessors, who were all ripped teenagers.
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya: With a good smattering of Luke, You Are My Father. After being empowered by the spirits of the New 52 Superman and Lois, he delivers this trope to override the influence of Mr. Mxyzptlk, who was slowly stripping away his parents' memories of him.Jon: My name is Jonathan Samuel Kent. I'm your son!
- Mythology Gag: In the DC Legends mobile game, Jon's "Legendary" upgrade trades out his jacket, jeans, and cape for his predecessor Kon-El's containment suit.
- Naughty Is Good: Zig-zagged. While he's sweet and polite and needs to be coaxed out of sticking to his bedtime, he's also a bit of a rebel who loves running off to do things he's not supposed to when no one is looking (such as watch a scary movie late at night) and starts a snowball fight right after school.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified. Jon's powers are still growing in and thus he is slowly gaining his Dad's powers. While he's initially limited to limited Super Strength and Heat Vision, he later gets Freeze Breath after having an allergic reaction to Goliath while being kidnapped by Damian and Maya.
- Nice Guy: Jon is generally upbeat and cheerful and is pretty upstanding and polite (everyone older than him is Mr. or Ms. and he even refers to his biologically teenager first-cousin-once removed Kara as "Cousin Kara"), though he does have to vent his childish impulses from time to time and he loosens up while at home and with friends.
- The first thing he does when the Teen Titans show up on his parent's balcony is to start passing out hot food and drinks while letting the Titans help themselves to the fridge.
- Nice Hat: Frequently wears numerous baseball caps to help hide his identity as Superboy.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Originally zigzagged due to his Power Incontinence, which caused him to be injured by things as minor as falling off a tree or being sedated via injection, but he still grabbed red-hot metal with ease. As his control improved, so did his durability, as knives and giant porcupine quills harmlessly shattered against his skin and clothing in Superman #17. In more recent comics, he's only slightly dazed after being knocked through a building and has no problems getting back up after being punched by the super-strong Chun Yull, the Faceless Hunter. Also plainly noticeable after Jon, his mom, and grandfather Sam Lane are all shot by heavy machine gun fire. Jon is on the floor, but he's not bleeding profusely the way his family members were.
- Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction with Damian after their fight as their dads look down at them in disappointment.Jon and Damian: Uh oh.
- Again after he accidentally runs into the non-powered Clark Kent while trying to get the door for Chinese takeout delivery.Jon: [eyes slowly widening] How much do I—owe—you...
- Yet again after being confronted by Lex Luthor.Jon: Oh god... Oh god... I'm in so much trouble...
- Again after he accidentally runs into the non-powered Clark Kent while trying to get the door for Chinese takeout delivery.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Thanks to his Kryptonian heritage, Batman refers to Jon as one of the "two most dangerous beings on the planet" even while Wonder Woman is in the room. The "Batman of Tomorrow" also says that Jon will be responsible for the death of millions in the near future. Hence the former's attempts to murder him in the present to prevent that from happening.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: His powers are slowly growing over the course of his appearances, punching dinosaurs in the face and easily tackling doors down. While he could initially get a concussion by falling off a tree, knives shatter against his skin as of Superman #17, and he fell down a well none the worse for wear. According to Batman, once Jon reaches his full potential, he'll be stronger than his dad ever will be on top of potentially manifesting some unique powers of his own.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Begs his parents not to let him go as he seemingly fades from existence. Luckily, it doesn't stick.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: In Brian Michael Bendis' Superman, he goes into space with Jor-El and gets lost in a time warp and trapped on Earth-3 for a while. After escaping, he finds that he's aged to 17 years old.
- The Pollyanna: Even after all the danger and horror he gets put through in his adventures, he still considers himself the luckiest boy in the world to be the son of Superman.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: He's a 21st Century kid who's more than happy to drop references to Star Wars and play any number of games on his Xbox and phone. He's also a Half-Kryptonian Flying Brick who can curb-stomp villains who can take on entire superhero teams.
- Power Incontinence: Jon is still growing in his powers, so they tend to fluctuate in and out in how strong they are and if they work at all. One moment he can lift a car above his head, the next he's scraping his knee on the sidewalk. They seem to work better when he's emotionally charged, such as when he's angry, determined, scared, or surprised.
- On one occasion, he accidentally used his Heat Vision while trying to use X-Ray Vision to see who the unexpected visitors were, blasting straight through the door and sending both Wonder Woman and Batman flying backwards. Bruce would have had a hole punched through him if it weren't for Diana's quick thinking.
- In Superman #17, his Heat Vision goes off again when Kathy rang the doorbell while he was in the middle of watching a horror film.
- This is mostly phased out by the end of the Black Dawn arc, after which it comes down to teaching Jon how to use his powers properly in order to do the most good. But he falls right back into this trope while being attacked by "Savior" during the Super Sons of Tomorrow arc. When pushed to the emotional brink, Jon loses control of the solar energy within him, unleashing a Solar Flare powerful enough to severely damage Titans Tower even after flying away to limit collateral. While his father is able to control this power, Jon's version is far more unstable due to Jon's hybrid nature, having the potential to kill Jon if he does so twice in a row, which nearly happens after Jon freaks out while seeing his father on the verge of dying due to Red Kryptonite exposure.
- Power Limiter: Batman notes that Jon's powers should have grown exponentially by the events of Superman #20 due to hybrid vigor, with powers matching or exceeding his father's at this point. Thus, he suspects, that something in Jon's vicinity is keeping his powers from reaching their full potential. Manchester Black had been rewiring Jon's neurons to stunt his development and make him a "better hero".
- Primary-Color Champion: Like Dad, Red, Blue, and Yellow characterize his super outfit, in contrast to the Black and Red of his predecessors.
- Put on a Bus: During Dark Nights: Metal, Lois locks Jon in a special safe room designed to be nigh-impenetrable to even Kryptonians in order to save him from the Doomsday Virus that was infecting her and the rest of Metropolis as well as the other members of the Super-Family like Supergirl and Superwoman. As a result, he's absent for almost the entire event.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Completely averted. Jon peppers his dialogue with all sorts of likes, gonnas, wouldas, comin's and other forms of realistic diction. This only highlights Jon's differences with Damian, who speaks with polished prose much of the time due to Damian's classical education under Talia.
- Reconstruction: Of the classic young superhero sidekick. After years of Deconstruction and cynical depictions, Jon is among the first in recent DC comics to return to the cheerful, naive, and somewhat bumbling child superheroes that drew many children to comics in the first place. Granted, his appearances also showcase the hardships and implications of having powers at his age, but he still remains true to this core concept. Thoughfully, many of the writers seem to be making a deliberate effort at reconstruction as there are several deconstructed points they address such as:
- Deconstruction: The hero is a kid who has trouble with handling himself because of adolescence being a period of great change and difficulty to find one's place let along what to do with superpowers thrown in the mix. Reconstruction: John is the son of the world's greatest hero and unlike most kid heroes whose father's are push them to hard to become something or are Disappeared Dads, Clark is open-minded, flexible, and wants Jon to find his own place and not pressure him to be something.
- Deconstruction: It's a kid with superpowers. Given that adults getting super powers can become Beware the Superman, any kid that suddenly gets powers could become Drunk on the Dark Side and the whole Jumping Off the Slippery Slope ala Brightburn. Even if the kid is good, instances of How Do I Shot Web? could lead to horrible moments of Does Not Know His Own Strength or Person of Mass Destruction. Reconstruction: Jon isn't in this alone. He has both of his parents as support and his dad has the same powers as him with decades more experience to pass on to his son. He also actively encourages Jon to practice and also takes his son out to train in relative safety the way any responsible demi-god parent should.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: They're a sign that he's about to blast your face off with heat vision.
- Retcon: After Superman Reborn ( where Pre-Flaspoint and New-52 Supermen stories merge), the events of Convergence: Superman are undone as Clark and Lois gave birth Jon in the New-52 universe (in the Fortress) and not the Flashpoint Batcave.
- Rousing Speech: Provides one to Hard Line and Big Shot when they were all under threat from Yggardis.Jon: My mom taught me that while I might have a hard time describing just what a hero is... I'll know it when I see it. And I sure as heck see it in you.
Big Shot: We want to help. But if we're made of magical clay, what can we even do? He can destroy us in an instant.
Jon: You do what every hero does... the best you can.
Damian: Jeez, you sound like your dad.
Jon: Thanks, I'll take that as a compliment.
- Rude Awakening: The Super Sons preview shows Jon ready to blast Damian with heat vision after he snuck in right before Jon was about to go to sleep.
- Sadistic Choice: Jon is frequently one of these choices for his father, forcing Supes to choose between going after a bad guy or saving Jon and Lois from a threat they cannot handle. Other times this crosses into Let's You and Him Fight and Conflict Ball, with Jon being forced to fight his father over a particular dispute.
- Secret Legacy: Is completely unaware of his father's superhero activities until he's around ten years old and his powers begin manifesting.
- Ship Tease: With Kathy, his Only Friend in Hamilton after they move there. He trusts her enough to be his Secret Keeper and they frequently hang out, clearly enjoying their time with each other. Even after it was revealed that she was deceiving him the whole time, she cherished Jon enough to ultimately try to defend him from Manchester Black, later going so far as to forcibly remove Manchester's consciousness from his body. Afterwards, they part on amicable terms and are implied to talk to each other on the phone from time to time.
- Signature Attack: Heat Vision, which he uses more than any of his other powers thus far. It's simultaneously the power he has the most control over, being able to activate it at will, and the least control over, often having it go off accidentally and has difficulty turning it off at times.
- Later issues have him pulling his father's signature "heat up a gun until it's too hot to hold" trick and setting his heat vision to a low enough power setting to burn tiny holes through someone's leg to incapacitate rather than maim or kill.
- Strong as They Need to Be: Jon's strength tends to vary based on how strong the plot needs him to be. For instance, he can lift a car over his head in one issue but has trouble breaking iron chains in another. This becomes particularly glaring after the Black Dawn arc, where he's strong enough to stop a train with ease, but Damian can still punch him hard enough to feel pain. Sometimes justified by the fact that as a Half-Kryptonian, he has to hold back or he'll splatter normal people with a regular punch.
- Superheroes Wear Capes: Duh.
- Superpower Lottery: Is developing his Dad's Kryptonian powerset and is stated to have the potential to become even more powerful than his father. That's not even taking the fact that Jon might manifest unique powers of his own.
- Super Senses: Like his dad, Jon is armed with Super-Vision of all kinds, from X-Ray to Telescopic. He also possesses his father's Super-Hearing, which also happened to be Jon's first superpower.
- Superior Successor: As mentioned above, Jon's hybrid nature gives him even more potential than his father, with Batman predicting that Jon would have long-surpassed Superman in power if not for Manchester Black messing with the neurons in Jon's brain to stunt his growth. As of the current comics, Jon can already outrace his dad and can match him blow for blow.
- Tagalong Kid: Due to the instability of his powers, his dad and mom are reluctant to let Jon get into the thick of the fight, forcing him to stay on the sidelines most of the time. Jon eventually becomes frustrated with this, thinking that his parents are making him hide his abilities for their convenience rather than his own benefit. By Super Sons #5, his parents agree to allow him to go on his own superhero adventures for as long as he sticks with the more experienced Damian.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Complains to Damian in the first few issues of Super Sons that they were going to get in a lot of trouble for their unauthorized escapade.
- Took a Level in Badass: As time goes on, Jon's mastery of his Kryptonian powers makes him more and more of a powerhouse. In earlier appearances, he could be knocked out by falling out of a tree and struggled to break metal chains. In more recent issues, he's stopping trains, having cars rammed into him, and slugging it out with monsters the size of skyscrapers. By Super Sons #11, he's powerful enough to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to a group of supervillains that were overwhelming the entirety of the Teen Titans in less than a minute while being way too fast for even Kid Flash to realize what was going on.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Ice cream. He's always eating scoops or tubs of it whenever he has the chance.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Played with. Jon's powers are most likely to work when he's emotionally charged, but they continue to fluctuate in and out when he least expects it and he has yet to achieve full control over it despite being kidnapped by Intergang, accidentally frying his pet cat Goldie to death with heat vision, nearly having half his genome sucked out by the Eradicator, watching his Dad and Krypto get sucked into the Eradicator.
- Tsundere: A minor one towards the Teen Titans. After spending most of Super Sons making fun of them due to Damian constantly harping about being older than him, Jon is still clearly excited to be working alongside them and is made an official member in all but name above Damian's protests. Despite this, when Damian goes back to putting Jon down, he calls them Damian's "Glee Club".
- Unskilled, but Strong: Jon's powers are unstable, making him above average at best and a liability at worst. This is further exacerbated by his inexperience and naivety. Nevertheless, when they do kick in, he's powerful enough to burn his father with his heat vision and even outrace him. After his powers stabilize, he's working on becoming Strong and Skilled, mastering his abilities and gaining more experience to handle himself alone and with others.
- Unwitting Pawn: Jon naivete makes it easy for Damian to manipulate him, a fact the young Superboy doesn't appreciate.
- Vitriolic Best Friends: Heavy on the Vitriolic towards Damian Wayne. One minute, they could be saving the world, the next they're slugging each other silly. That said, by the events of the annual holiday special (which is heavily implied to take place a good deal of time after their last encounter) they're close enough to have each other on speed dial and to buy gifts for each other (with Damian buying the two of them a video game they both wanted). Heck, they even have Christmas dinner together! Of course, the front cover of the same comic has Damian kicking a Heat Vision-ready Jon in the face while stealing a present from him, so they aren't that chummy yet. It's also implied that Damian respects Jon deep down, but is too prideful to admit it, as noted by Raven. Eventually, Jon comes to enjoy being around Damian enough to be disappointed when he doesn't get a chance to go out with him on a weekend.Raven: Do not let Robin's defensiveness get to you, Superboy. He respects you deeply. We ALL do now that we know you.
- Their relationship cools off for the most part by the latter end of Super Sons, with their fiery arguments settling into playful jabs like Jon pushing a finger down on a barbell Damian was using. They also regularly risk life-and-limb for each other and are each outraged when the other one is in danger.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Jon is always fighting the temptation to avoid using his powers in school and seems to enjoy letting loose as Superboy, given his eagerness to help. He also hates school as a whole and would much rather be playing video games or being a superhero than reading a textbook.
- Warrior Prince: As of Superman #36 his dad is the God-King of Apokolips, making Jon the prince of Apokolips. Naturally, Jon can kick ass with the best of them.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Jon knows that he has big shoes to fill after learning about his superpowers and is anxious to get into the thick of things and prove himself.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Jon can be surprisingly mature and thoughtful for his age, usually being able to carry himself so well in the face of danger that his father sometimes forgets that he's only ten years old. Jon also shares his father's empathy and his mom's wit, being able to drop a Rousing Speech when he wants to and think through problems more readily than even his friend Damian is willing to.Superman: The way you act and carry yourself like a big guy—sometimes you make me forget.
Jon: Forget what?
Superman: That you're only ten years old.
- Younger Than They Look: When adventuring with Damian, the pair are often mistaken for a Sibling Team due to their similar hair color and age. Since Jon is the taller of the two, he's almost always assumed to be the older brother, much to Jon's amusement and Damian's annoyance. Also a case of Depending on the Artist, since while most comics portray him as clearly having the height and physique of a ten year old, some issues could have him comfortably passing for a teenager, as seen in Action Comics #997, where his chest muscles are prominent enough to show through his sweatshirt.◊